A great ‘ice-breaker’ activity to do in the first lesson with a new group is ‘find someone who…’ as it gets students talking to each other and gives them a focused purpose rather than just doing an open-ended ‘tell us a bit about yourself’ in a room full of people they don’t know very well.
In normal times, it’s a very easy activity to do, in that you print off a sheet for each student and they walk around the room chatting to each other, finding someone who can do each of the things in the grid. The idea is to put a different name in each box. However, in September 2020, when the situation seems to be different in every school and we’re not quite sure how it will all work as schools go back to ‘the new normal’ after the Covid-19 lockdown, it might not be so easy. Here are my ideas of how to do this activity in different situations:
- If you are not allowed to print off sheets and hand them out, project the sheet on to the whiteboard and either do the activity as explained above (walking around chatting about each box and they write names in their exercise book with a bit of extra info) or as a whole-class activity (see below).
- If children are not allowed to move around the room and talk to each other face to face, you can project the sheet on to the whiteboard and have a class discussion about each point in the grid. Go through the boxes one by one and pupils can put up their hands if they can do the thing in the box. For some, just pick one student to give the answer (e.g. who can say ‘French’ in French just has one answer!), but for others you can ask lots of pupils to contribute (e.g. who can name a river or mountain range in Spain) and talk about the answers. You could even project a map of the country to highlight the geographical features, or show a world map to show Francophone or Spanish-speaking countries (or a map of Europe for German-speaking ones).
- If children are in small bubbles, they can do the activity as explained above (talking to each other and writing down names) but could be allowed to put the same person’s name in more than one box, or you could reduce the number of boxes.
- If they are allowed to work in pairs but not in bigger groups, they could use the grid to ‘interview’ each other about how much they know about the language and the countries where it is spoken. Then they can report some of their partner’s answers back to the class.
- If you’re doing live online lessons, you could send the sheet in advance or display it on the screen during the lesson and ask each student in turn if they can fill any of the boxes.
- If you are setting work for students that can’t be in school, or are providing online learning (but not live lessons), you could use the grid as a kind of quiz. Pupils could find an answer for each box and then send them to the teacher. This could also be extended as a project in which pupils could research some elements from the boxes and find out more info (thank you to Joanna JS on Facebook for this idea!).
I hope these ideas fit with the Covid regulations in your school, but if they don’t, let me know and I’ll try and come up with another way of doing this activity!
Here are the sheets:
I’d say they’re ideal for new Year 7 classes, but could be used with any new class as a way of helping them get to know each other.